Wednesday, June 20, 2007

TELUS and Bell Canada Consider Merger Possibility

BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada, and TELUS, the incumbent operator in western Canada, confirmed that talks are underway regarding a possible business combination. BCE and TELUS have entered into a mutual non-disclosure and standstill agreement on a non-exclusive basis.

In a press statement, TELUS said a combined TELUS/BCE could:

  • Create a combined organization poised for improved growth and returns through the realization of significant operating synergies to the ongoing benefit of TELUS and BCE investors

  • Retain investment grade credit ratings thereby retaining financial strength to invest in long-term growth with the associated public benefits related to innovation and productivity

  • Preserve and enhance a public Canadian investment vehicle for ordinary Canadians and institutional investors

  • Ensure access to leading edge technology, services and devices for the benefit of Canadian consumers and the competitiveness of businesses

  • Allow current BCE shareholders to participate in ongoing value creation on a largely tax deferred rollover basis which would be attractive to the many BCE shareholders with a low tax cost basis

  • Preserve an income tax base for Canadian governments that would otherwise be eliminated by highly levered private equity structures with non-taxable equity holders and U.S. sourced debt

  • Be the most likely strategic alternative to preserve long-term Canadian control if foreign ownership restrictions are removed

  • Establish a truly national telecommunications company, similar to other G8, European and Commonwealth countries (e.g. British Telecom, France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Telecom Italia) in an industry critical to national sovereignty.
  • In April 2007, BCE announced a series of discussions with a group of leading Canadian pension funds to explore the possibility of taking the publicly-traded company private. This group will be led by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), who have signed a non-disclosure and standstill agreement with BCE on a non-exclusive basis. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR), a leading global private equity firm, has also signed the agreement and will join the Canadian-led consortium as a minority partner.

  • BCE controls Bell Canada, Telesat Canada and an interest in Bell Globemedia.

Nortel Shows Three SIP Applications

Nortel introduced three SIP and IMS-ready applications: Web Services, Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), and Web Portal customization. The applications can integrate multiple networks such as wireline, wireless or cable and IP-based communications -- email, video, web-based services, instant messaging.

Nortel's SIP applications:

  • Web Services -- an application that leverages Parlay X API standards and allow businesses to enhance their web sites through interactive multimedia communications such as click-to-call, instant messaging and call presence. This new Web-services application will enable businesses to send targeted messages to their customers' mobile device based on the user's location and individual preferences. The Web Services APIs will be available in Q3 2007.

  • Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) integrates voice, video, text and data communications into a seamless communications environment between desktop and mobile devices, using cellular and WLAN access. Enhanced capabilities provide unified voice, messaging and multimedia communications high-speed broadband services for workers whether they are at home or working remotely. They also allow a PC-based interface to screen mobile calls, and provide advanced collaboration features such as file sharing, while on a mobile call. These enhanced FMC offerings are available today.

  • Carrier-hosted Web Portal enhanced application allows subscribers to create and manage communications services via a personalized Web application. Preferences such as call routing and call blocking can be prioritized for each incoming call. Enhanced capabilities include use of a mobile internet browser to customize call and service profiles. The Web Portal and corresponding customization options are currently available.

Nortel has previously announced SIP contracts with leading carriers Orange, Neuf Cegetel, Bell Canada and Telefonica.

Nortel new and enhanced applications are designed to run today over a pre-IMS environment and are built with IMS interfaces necessary to run over future IMS core networks. The applications are enabled on the Application Server 5200 (AS 5200) and the Communication Server 2000 (CS 2000).

Bell Canada Deploys Nortel's Network Operations Management Solution

Bell Canada is deploying Nortel's Metro Ethernet Manager (MEM) solution to support delivery of new high-bandwidth communications services, such as video and large file sharing, to its business customers.

Metro Ethernet Manager (MEM) is Nortel's element and domain management solution. Key features include the ability to quickly and efficiently provision services; monitor, isolate and troubleshoot faults; measure network performance for capacity planning and SLA assurance; view the network topologies from nodal as well as service perspectives; and backup & restore within a common security infrastructure.

Sonus and NeuStar Partner on Presence-Enabled IMS Applications

Sonus Networks and NeuStar are working together to create feature-rich IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based consumer applications with presence technology. The new integration effort builds on an existing partnership between the companies.

The Sonus IMX Multimedia Application Platform, a key element in the application layer of Sonus IMS-based network architecture, has been successfully integrated with NeuStar's Presence Platform (PSP).

Part of NeuStar's suite of next generation messaging services, the PSP incorporates a presence server and group list management server (GLMS), which power presence-enabled IMS-based applications.

Ellacoya Enables the Personal Internet Plans with New Software for DPI-based Platform

Ellacoya Networks announced two software modules that extend the capabilities of its deep packet inspection (DPI) hardware platforms, the e30 and e100 network platforms, enabling network operators to offer a personalized service plan for each subscriber.

Ellacoya's e30 platform and e100 platform (a custom-designed 20 Gbps wire-speed DPI network hardware element) enable service providers to effectively identify and manage network traffic dynamically by subscriber, service type, time-of-day, etc. Ellacoya's platforms provide granular reports on network usage; manage traffic dynamically with precision; ensure VoIP quality; identity and prevent network threats; and provide the basis for quota management, differentiated service plans and quality-assured premium services (IPTV, VoIP, streaming video).

The new Ellacoya Service Creation Manager (SCM) is a graphical user interface that provides rapid and scalable service creation. Built on hierarchical database technology, services and service bundles are defined once in the environment and then can be assigned to individual subscribers and subscriber groups instantly with point-and-click ease. Subscribers can also be automatically provisioned through Ellacoya's well-documented Application Programming Interface (API).

The Ellacoya Service Plan Manager (SPM) integrates with the service provider's OSS/BSS and automates subscriber management functions including service activation, service changes and the enforcement of application-based service tiers. It tracks each subscriber's usage against the terms of his/her service plan to enforce the correct policies and ensure accurate accounting and billing. The SPM also provides integration with other back office systems and network infrastructure such as policy servers through standard COPS, SOAP and EJB interfaces.

BT Deploys Ellacoya for Network Visibility and Service Optimization

BT has deployed Ellacoya Networks' broadband optimization platform to support the BT Retail broadband network of more than 3 million subscribers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Ellacoya solution's network visibility function is being used for capacity planning and traffic analysis; providing visibility into aggregate traffic and specific application usage on both a real-time and historic basis. This enables BT to effectively engineer network capacity to meet all subscriber bandwidth needs as well as to anticipate and plan for future service requirements.

The service optimization functions of the Ellacoya solution are used to identify and provide Quality-of-Service (QoS) for BT's IPTV service, BTVision, and to analyze VoIP service quality to ensure expected performance. It also allows BT's business customers to self-activate services remotely.

Pulse~LINK Files Suit Against Tzero for UWB Patents

Pulse~LINK announced a lawsuit against Tzero Technologies of Sunnyvale, California, claiming infringement of Pulse~LINK's patented UWB communications technologies.

NexTone and PortaOne Offer SIP-H.323 Switching and Billing Solution

NexTone announced an interworking initiative with PortaOnec to provide carriers and service providers worldwide with an integrated billing and SIP-H.323 switching solution.

PortaBilling100 is a carrier-grade VoIP billing and customer management platform. The NexTone MSX (Multi-protocol Session Exchange), when used together with PortaBilling100 for NexTone, allows service providers to create a flexible and scalable VoIP network while ensuring consistent service quality, protection, and security. By applying its signaling intelligence at the edge of the network, the NexTone MSX adapts session signaling to enable carriers to interconnect their SIP and H.323 networks, while PortaBilling100 for NexTone provides call authentication and authorization as well as billing information.

YouTube Encodes Video in H.264 for Apple TV, iPhone

YouTube has begun encoding their videos in the advanced H.264 format for viewing on Apple's upcoming iPhone and the Apple TV device.

Global Crossing Selects Alcatel-Lucent for Global Maintenance Services

Global Crossing has selected Alcatel-Lucent to oversee the maintenance of its optical and transport equipment by providing technical support, repair, field maintenance and program management services. The outsourcing is expected to reduce their global network maintenance costs and improve network operating efficiencies.

Real Time Content (RTC) to Spin Out of BT

BT will spin out a group that is developing an "adaptive media" platform into a new company called Real Time Content (RTC). The RTC platform uses viewer profiles and real time feedback to customize video content that is automatically delivered and controlled by the brand. By analyzing profiles, user criteria, surfing trends, and bandwidth capabilities, brands and content owners can create a personalized information and entertainment experience that speaks directly to each viewer. RTC effectively monitors, measures and adjusts digital content to allow dynamic changes in real time.

RTC, which is headquartered in the UK, has funding from BT and New Venture Partners.

Cablevision Expects to Carry 500 HD Channels by Year End

Cablevision, which serves the NY metro area, will add 15 new high-definition channels from VOOM HD Networks. The additions will bring Cablevision's iO digital cable customers a total of 40 HD programming services -- the most HD available anywhere in the nation, from any provider. The company also announced that by the end of this year it will have the capability to carry more than 500 channels of HD programming on its advanced fiber optic network.


Optimum Lightpath Receives MEF 14 Certification

Cablevision's Optimum Lightpath division received the Metro Ethernet Forum's (MEF) MEF 14 Service Provider Certification. As part of the process, the Optimum Lightpath network was certified to support E-Line, V-Line and E-LAN solutions. Testing was completed by Iometrix - the MEF's independent certification lab - to ensure compliance with the Abstract Test Suite for Traffic Management (MEF-14-ATS).

Optimum Lightpath was one of only 11 service providers from around the globe to be certified under the inaugural Certification Program.

Separately, Optimum Lightpath received the "2007 Regional Carrier Ethernet Service Provider of the Year" award among North American Carrier Ethernet providers. The company has more than 2,400 route miles of fiber in the ground and more than 2000 lit commercial buildings in the New York metro area. The company claims that more than 50 percent of hospitals in the New York metropolitan area are now using its Optimum Lightpath network for high capacity and high bandwidth integrated IP data, Internet and voice solutions.

Vietnam Tests WiMAX with Motorola

Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC), a company within the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), selected Motorola for a technical and commercial WiMAX trial in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The trial will use Motorola's wi4 WiMAX platform.

AT&T Gains Metro Ethernet Certification

AT&T has been certified by the Metro Ethernet Forum's (MEF) test lab and has passed the industry association's most stringent MEF-14 evaluation for performance. The MEF-14 evaluation includes a set of 170 tests, such as an analysis of service performance for frame delay, frame delay variation and frame loss ratio, as well as bandwidth profile service attributes. AT&T received certification of its Ethernet Private Line, Virtual Private Line, and Private Line for Wide Area Network family of services.

BigBand Unveils New Video Processing Engine

BigBand Networks unveiled a new video processing engine for its flagship Broadband Multimedia-Service Router. The new video processing engine will form the core of a new family of cards designed to significantly enhance advertising insertion and RateShaping performance. The new engine can also enhance video quality and increase density for BigBand's switched digital video and addressable advertising solutions.